Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Happy Halloween

Answer to the classic question, from Miss Fancy.
I will be a ghost. You will be scared. And, I will say BOO!

More to come.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

My Old Lady

Today is Mo's birthday. She is, while aging, less old than I. And it shows! Happy birthday, Mo. I will try to avoid succumbing to the warm and fuzzies here as I describe the day we had today, which was excellent. In an effort to do so I remember yesterday. Yesterday was... not so good. Between the 2 sick kids who were unable, or unwilling, to sleep, and us (we were not taking things well) it made for a rather long and unpleasant Saturday. That said, we went out last night to some sniffy lounge - our first outing without the kids since July - and lo, it was good.

As I type this (and I mean it, as opposed to my last post) she and A are asleep on the bed, she from the fatigue of spending the weekend with three children, and he in a milk coma. I know I should put him to bed but I don't want to disturb the picture they make. Plus, he is heavy, and I am weak. Mo is so tired she hasn't gotten up to take the computer from me even though I am listening to Drums & Wires at the end of the bed. Very tired.

The purpose of this post is not to refer to the bling I got her for her birthday (there being none) nor to the expensive clothing (because she is returning it). Well, I will refer to it backhandedly, but that's it, you literalist swine. The gift to which I refer is the day. Our heads full of fresh air, we dug into the dead fried bird dinner with no small amount of interest. We enjoyed (maybe that's the wrong terms) breakfast with my sister and two sets of grandparents and the kids were charming, engaged, hungry, not loud (except when E announced, over the din, she has pooped in the toilet, that was loud - and worth announcing, I suppose. I still do it.) After experiencing a period of a no-nap baby and an increasingly nap-resistant toddler (dad, I have to poo... so we go and we sit and we wait... ... for many a visit, there was no poo... just a sly expression, that is, until lately, where we go, and she kind of waits through a story or two, until I start to ask questions about the presence of activity in ass-land, whereupon a theatrical trailer of grunts precedes a less-theatrical trailer... so now I think she is command-crapping. If I only I had such self-control over any of my bodily functions.) we had both children asleep for a large block of the afternoon.

I was able to roast a chicken, its cavity plugged with fresh thyme and a large chunk of lemon, its exterior smeared with table seasonings and olive oil (note to self: learn fancy cooking words to go in lieu of 'plugged' and 'smeared') and some yam fries, boil some carrots, and then roast button mushrooms in the chicken jus before doing something vaguely productive in the house. After E's pre-dinner meal we went out to the yard and cut the guts out of a peck of pumpkins, E taking the seeds, in batches of 2, to the compost (which is as endearing as it is inefficient). It was sunny, fresh, the autumn wind biting our skin. After that E hosted a party for the disemboweled squash (which will make the society pages, no soubt) while I served the grub. We then enjoyed our dinner, our evening, and now to sleep.

Happy birthday, Mo.


Saturday, October 28, 2006

The Ace of Spades

My life, hmm. What a boring subject. I am contemplating how it came to pass that Mo and I may require a written schedule to arrange for standard bodily functions. Man oh man.

Speaking of scheduling craps, what's up with the crap on tv lately? As I type this I am watching Shark. This show stinks. I miss Smith, but it sucked too. These fucking shows are so trite when they work to be serious, or attempt to detail relationship moments. Shark is having some kind of heart-to-heart with his adolescent daughter. Every emotional moment is as subtle as a colonoscopy without anasthetic is likely to be discomfiting. It's all filler for the money shot, which itself is a tired old dog: the killer cross exam, the verdict, the heist... lameness. Bring back Da Vinci's Inquest, or put Intelligence on at a time more suited to my schedule.

Don't even get me started on the hokum that is Studio 60. I swear, between the feel-good little vignettes wherein white upper-middleclass tv people show their respect for visible minorities, or show their respect for their elders, or for puffins, and the wretched, nay, horrific strains of some hyperactive string section which are imposed on every important moment, or which leak into a scene like a Crohn's symphony to tell you something important is about to happen, PAY ATTENTION! and this is Sorkin, so EVERYTHING is IMPORTANT!

My apologies to MD who posted on tv love recently. Ok, so you like House, inter alia. Not that I have an opinion... but these shows suck. My goodness- the exploratory surgery/MRI/lab testing/lying down with tubes inserted is leading to an adverse and potentially fatal reaction in the patient! I never saw that coming. I should really invest in an improved tv platform but that's just what they want us to do, the fuckers.

I was carrying our male child about the house this evening when it occurred to me: he is fucking heavy! And: my biceps are awesome!

He has a cold right now. When he sets about to voice any form of displeasure he sounds like a cross between a cute little baby and the man shown below.

P-man out.

NB: "This evening" means "Thursday night". Any references to something happening contemporaneous with posting are purely coincidental.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

One for Three

As reported my son is a newborn no longer. In these past three months I have ventured away from him 3 times. This weekend is my birthday and I will do it again. Please wish me luck since I have never had a really good time on any kind of 'baby-break' until my kid is like 10 months old and dead asleep when I creep out.

Sad, aren't I.

I know I should be all on it and confident about getting 'me time' but I don't really get 'me time'. Trust me it ain't no martyr complex I just simply can delay the gratification of a really good martini until such time that I will not be returning home to a anxious baby who has turned purple with rage and hunger.

To date me and Baby A. are one for three. When he was less than a month I went out to our coffee place bought coffee and chocolate cake; he slept the whole time, great! The second month, p-man and I went to an open house for 15 minutes and I left him with my Mom, he turned purple -- as advertised -- because our village has some idiots members that don't know how to burp a baby. The third month I went out for 'me time' vis a vis latte and a bookstore for 54 minutes... I returned home to this. Oh, the look you can get from such a little person, who knew. He breastfed as soon as I got home for 20 minutes solid the whole time communicating -- 'what were you thinking?... I mean where were you?? ... I thought you were never coming back, you know??? Yes, I know.

So as I say... this weekend. Late night pool tables, a good single-malt menu and a-what-have-you-dessert menu will do just fine, honey. Don't count on me to take on a 5 course meal and enjoy myself. Besides, last time I checked another birthday will be upon me before I f'ing know it!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Save the Adverb

I believe I have dropped the hint that I am currently living the work-from-home dream nightmare. It is a writing assignment. It is not going well. Case in point.. I just tried to resolve the following thought:

"should often still " -- ?????

After 5 minutes and an argument with the pointless grammar functions of MS-Word I realized I need only one word. Consistently.

When your work day is 1 hour long and your workload is 140 hours in 12 weeks this sucks. Must work harder...

Monday, October 23, 2006

It Takes a Train to Laugh

to laugh, it takes a cake melting in the rain to cry. What the fuck is that supposed to mean? Heavy lyrics, I am beginning to suspect, may be synonymous with stupid lyrics. Stupid, yet pretentious. Ought that lead me to consider a different sort of title? Yes. I would, except this post is a wee bit purple. Almost papal. And overlong. Way too long. Turn back now.

Someone please invent a device which will permit the parent of a large and jowly baby to wash in the under-chin(s) region with a minimum of fuss and call it the Jowl Towl (tm). Remember where you got the name... give me money. I'm no engineer, but I'm imagining some kind of terry towel thong underwear, modified for civilian use.

Lately I have wondered why I blog (is that a verb?) at all, what is the big deal about blogs, why people discuss or pronounce upon them at all, as though this medium will bring us closer to one another, or save the world, or something. Like, Gloria Steinem said it, or Don van Massenhoven... someone with an air of unquestioned authority. Mo has tried to explain it to me, but I don't get it.

I can't deny I enjoy typing about my kids, Mo, the cats, or whatever brain farts squeal out in the course of the day. That anyone reads this stuff is humbling and gratifying. I enjoy reading about other people's stuff some of the time. I cannot question the fact that some really engaging people are out there blogging away. Still (and maybe this comes down to my dismal typing speed) I can't escape the feeling that when I am putting my stuff out here I am further away, at least for the time being, from those immediately around me. This creates tension between where I am and where I think I am supposed to be.

But enough with the chit chat, the Rolling Chunder Top 500 Most Inscrutable Lyrics, like, EVER! The topic of today's post is, in fact, a garden. Our garden.

The back portion of our little urban lot is now cleared of the end of this year's garden. Our garden faces south. It captures the full sun and while diminutive in stature it afforded me great pleasure this summer. Autumn is here and the garden is now little more than, well, dirt. The plants which remain are sunflowers, taller than a bus (not a big bus, but whatever. A cargo van, maybe. A Ford Taurus) and heavy with seeds, heads drooping in the sun, victim to love of the many small birds in the neighbourhood who flit in and out of them each day to our amusement and to the distraction of the cats and the predations of the occasional squirrel.

Just a couple weeks ago, as the season turned, tomato plants, planted late this year, drooped with tomatoes of numerous species, size, and degree of ripeness. The beans were drying on the stake, the last few unpicked pods fat with beans the size of a cat's brain (we checked). We had a few broccolis with cute little florets which I killed and boiled and ate with great satisfaction... there were other plants too, in our haphazard feast, but this is not a produce section. This is a small garden, and these are small things to be sure, but to me they sweeten my world considerably. I will attempt to explain.

I recall the garden of my youth, started by my mum with some fierce determination, and abandoned by my her after only a couple of years. It become a large unused portion of outer back yard, next to the piles of cedar rounds which one day were supposed to be transformed into some kind of cedar product of greater use than a large pile of cedar rounds (which is great, don't get me wrong, I love piles of cedar). None of us did anything to participate in or revive what was intended to be a "family project". This "garden", such as it was, represented the failure of my immediate family to work together, or to work at all. (And now, in an effort to sound even more pretentious:) Only weeds grew in our garden (see, what did I tell you?). I was serious about school and sports, so was my sister. Dad had to work (and tipple, & c.). Mom had to ferry us around and dodge my dad. Our yard was no place to be a vegetable, I assure you. They stayed well away.

Fast forward to the period in my life where I listened to Steve Hillage I lived in an apartment and fantasized about getting the earth under my nails. After living together in an apartment (and harboring this dirt fetish) for over a decade Mo (who comes from a long line of gardeners) and I were itching to start a garden of our own. It was one of the first things we did when we moved here, tearing up the sod in the back, tilling the soil, starting the seeds in those weird little peat pucks. That first summer was heaven - standing in the dirt, naked, eating tomatoes still warm from the sun, the seeds dripping slowly down my highly waxed... sorry, that's the septuagenarian German couple next door. I cannot, or so I tell myself in my Judy Garland moments, imagine going through a summer without the garden. This is not to say I am an avid gardener, an excellent gardener, or even a proficient gardener - I am not. But I have a garden where a number of plants grow and some grow to fruition. We eat from our garden (of course, that is the point of a vegetable garden. I suppose I am feeling a little maudlin. I just switched from Two Fat (One Dead) Ice Cream to frozen yogurt).

This past summer E ate the vegetables we grew, and by ate I mean, well, ate vegetables. We had the pleasure of picking corn of the stalk and boiling it but a few minutes later. We sucked the seeds out of tomatoes fresh from the vine, stinking of the sun, the soil, and salt. We have gobbled snap peas, purple beans, and green beans straight from the pods, sitting in the dirt, filthy and content. Together we hunted worms (on a strictly monitored catch and release program), watered the plants, and danced in the sprinkler. Between safaris we have eaten pears, mealy and sweet, from our young tree. While with her, gazing in her wide eyes, wondering at her preoccupation, I have been alive. I believe, perhaps fancifully, we have shared a discourse greater than the sum of the words spoken (Me: Don't kill that tomato! It's green! Her: More, daddy!). It was, like, heavy. Like the song with the crying train, or the melting cakes and the rain, or the poor lads who had lost their sanity in their, their... membranes.

The point I am attempting to make is I do not believe, by way of a soap-boxed harrumph of an introduction, that it takes a village or the internet is not going to make the world better. Blogs do not represent some hitherto undiscovered route towards honest discourse. In short, large pronouncements about the greatness of one form of communication, one form of human pursuit or another, or of some Bob Dylan lyric leave me feeling skeptical. Maybe those who pronounce are correct. Maybe a they know something I don't (which is likely). Perhaps they are true believers in the human endeavour (so long as the "people" fit into certain categories, are well educated, own computers, have time to do whatever it is the pronouncer is doing with his or her free time). If that is the case who am I to say otherwise?

But I will tell you this, and I harbour this sensation, lest I ever grow too old and too jaded and forget. When I am in my garden with my daughter, shelling peas, shucking corn, eating cherry tomatoes from the vine, I am at once in touch with humanity. For a brief moment I am out of my head and in thrall of the spiritual. It gets no better than that.

P-man out.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Bubbling with questions

That soft soap... it's like a scam right? You know I don't know quite how it is a rip off but something tells me I am spending about 3x the amount on soft soap than I would on hard soap. It's like hard disks and floppy disks right?


Thursday, October 19, 2006

Three months old : The love this child brings

Our children are born incomplete in themselves. They are not like the new foal who wobbles about or even the kitten who stumbles with eyes closed. They are born helpless. Prior to my motherhood I did not appreciate this and I did not appreciate the nourishment a newborn baby gives me. On Tuesday my son passed from newborn to infant and I have left the experience for good. Some might think it odd but I will miss it.

I think of the little babe so dependent on others in those first three months as something precious. It is the trust -- so fleeting in our humanity -- that amazes me. I also think of it, quite selfishly, as my redemption. While a child grows inside me I think they are a part of me. As it happens this does not sharply extinguish for me with birth but instead it dwindles in the flash of time from newborn to infant.

What you need to know about me to understand is that when it comes to me I do not, cannot, always love myself. But this child? It was a part of me, paradox. They arrive, helpless and are unavoidably a piece of me I must love without reservation. I do this wholeheartedly and this redeems me. It seems especially true when they are wee. That is when they are most resonant of what I need to unreservedly love. What am I saying? I should love my pants-crapping/screaming self? Well maybe. Certainly, I should love my unscheduled, nonproductive self - and others. I should love for love's sake and not for worth, industry or ability. And I should trust.

For that while he was that part of me outside my own womb; not entirely himself but in each moment less me and more the individual. But that's over.

It is relentless now. There he is -- his own person. While he still needs to learn to walk then run he is profound in character and spirit. Our boy-o is patient and easy going. He babbles a good bit now, he rushes to hold up his head to see and he wants to sit so badly. Last week he started bringing his two little hands together. Reflex gives way to volition and cries shapechange to calls and chatter. Smiles abound. I love him so much he is amazing.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Fine, Actually

I am looking out the window at the monochromatic leaden sky, wet pavement, and toothless crones which typify New Westminster in the fall. Pile upon pile of neglected files are squeaking "read me" with increasing belligerence (note to self: check prescription). This is not to say I am having a bad day. Far from it. Lest I be in doubt on this point I can consider this. That looks like a very bad day.

P-man out.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Semantic argument of the day

So I woke up this morning and wondered how bad I could piss off stay-at-home-moms. Hell, why not throw in a bit of guff to the stay-at-home dads, too. And, I doubt if the go-to-work folks will be much impressed either.

But let's see.

I was at a brief social event with adults and kids a couple weeks back where I got quite pissed off. It was simple, innocuous really. I was chatting with an acquaintance I had not seen since early months after the birth of our first children; like me she recently delivered a second child. I asked her if she had been working. She shot back - quite within her rights -- "OOOHHH, I've been working. Oh, SHE'S my work. But, I know YOU know that."

Now, since I have such good meds manners these days I smiled sweetly and nodded. I moved on with her in the conversation. For, yes, I do know what she means. I hear or read this stuff all the time. Still, this case has bugged me for two weeks now and I thought I would dump on you guys about it.

Why are our children considered our work??? WHY? WHY? What is the deal with this careerification of motherhood? Is childcare in the context of your family your job? Really??

I will make my confession. Despite the fact that raising kids taxes my management skills to their limit... Even though I nearly drop dead at night after all the tasks required to keep this place running as efficiently as a Wonka Chocolate Factory, minus the Oompaloompas ... THIS IS NOT MY JOB. I am away from my job, away from my work. This is my family and no matter how hard it is it ain't work, duckie. Don't worry about the pensionable years I'm wasting. Don't give me your bullshit $100, for having my kids.

One thing that bothers me about the 'this is my job' theory is that is undermines Dads as parents -- oh, he isn't a 'family worker'. I would expect that this tends to make it more difficult to build families because parenting comes down to punching the time clock? Being more of a parent than others who go to work, say? I don't know about you but our family needs two functioning parents in constant evolution to make decisions jointly or in sequence and time is not a factor. Further, the idea just plain comes off as a cop out to me. I don't want to justify being home with daughter and son as me undertaking some new JOB as their mother AND caregiver.

Another thing I don't like about the posture is that it supports a largely horrid stereotyping of families based on that lunatic benchmark of the Baby Boom generation. The blip in childrearing that setup this crap dichotomy of women as either traitors or heroes of the stay-at-home dream is -- as I say -- crap. Or -- just as bad -- traitors or heroes to the increasingly oppressive go-to-work dream.

Generations have come before us where mothers AND FATHERS looked after children out of love, desire and duty. Unlikely, they did the job instead of being a 'hunter' or 'seamstress' or 'miller' or whatnot! I just don't think anyone was putting their 'career on hold' for the sake of the family. I have grown to hate that characterisation. Likewise, I hate those of us at home being cast as putting our selves out there to 'do the family's work' ... What the hell does that mean?? Work in my mind implies the production of something. My kids, they are like alchemy -- maybe a bit voodoo -- sure isn't like any kind of production line I know of. I am not working to produce a certain 4 year old, or 10 year old or 20 year old.. whereupon I will then seek new work and something new to produce.

But, honestly -- my main concern is how will SHE feel when Mommy persists in saying "Oh, I'm working. SHE'S my work." ??? You can be sure at that party the two-year old looked right at her with a hint of tension and nervousness. I knew what Mommy meant, yes. But, I like it less now.

ps.The Blogger spell check suggestion for Oompaloompas is employment. Perfect.

Monday, October 16, 2006

The Poop On Us

If you were attracted to this posting in anticipation of getting the skinny on the Family Wo, you are going to be disappointed. There will be no wild tales of pre-child bacchanals and ill-advised "couples" tattoos. Similarly there will be no accounts of any Vegas trips involving sheep, hookers, or land sharks... loan sharks.

The truth is far more prosaic. I refer to our lovely children, our kind children, our sweet little people who ingest food and who therefore also defecate. It's the circle of life, I think.

The poop thing is proving to be, shall I say, rather prevalent of late. E is toilet training. I feel sometimes that the poor thing is leading me through the process. I have commented elsewhere on the difficulty I face re: usage of public facilities. Perhaps this is hereditary. Right now E appears to operate best when the pot is concealed behind the bedroom curtains, like some Cirque du Merde meditaion tent. Upon reflection, I am incorrect in my assertion. The other effective place, for the purpose of conducting the business, appears to be restaurant washrooms. Of late we have been eating out a fair bit. Potty training is expensive!

But to the dramatic tie-in to the title. E sometimes takes a runner post-business. On occasion, say if, um, the poo-catching pants were not removed in a timely manner, then there can be, I don't know how to say it, in the event of solidity issues, excessive coverage. Many a runner concludes with the long arm of the law (me) reaching in before she gets too far. Mo, as it turns out, appears able to calm the brown streak using verbal means, but not this correspondent. Nope, I favour collecting her in my arms and taking her to a biohazard site for cleaning. Hence the poop on me. (Formerly on E.)

A is all of three months old. He poos frequently. Mo likes to bathe with A. You see where this is going. The other night she found the perfect bathing position for A, insofar as the release of infant fecal matter is concerned. It appeared, did the poop, like some re-enactment of the Beverly Hillbillies introductory sequence, or Krakatoa (except it was underwater the entire time, and in a tub, and poo, not lava). The thing I did not previously know about the baby poop is how well it adheres to human hair... that's the poop on Mo.

Yesterday baby A performed some rumbling. There was grumbling. He was double bagged, in two suits, as he had been outside (where autumn has asserted itself). I did not notice the spreading stain, the fecal march across his back, as I attempted to soothe him. Mo noted: You're spreading it across his back. Indeed. By the time I de-suited the lad he was covered up to his armpits. A cleaning squad was retained for this one. The poop on him.

Bon Appetit, P-man out.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

To anthropomorphize some more

It turned out that Wednesday was BUSH POST DAY!! who knew?? When p-man and Sarah both got on the topic I ended up leaving -- roughly -- the following at Sarah's great blog

You know being surrounded by Peter Rabbit blankets and books filled with talking geese or vacationing hamsters can ramp up the anthropomorphizing tendencies... but with this one I have gone over the edge.

On impromptu trip to a park this past Sunday I used someone's abandoned fleece coat as a rag. It was raining just before -- I was solo-parent child-wrangling on the weekend (which tends to make me a bit "edgy") ...

I picked up the coat and said to it 'Your owner will wash you up when you get home, right?' - I guess coat said yeah 'cause I proceeded to sweep sand and water from the slide and jungle-gym-tunnel with it. E.s bum was plenty soaked already and by the end (pun intended) of our play... her damp bum was so sand encrusted she look a bit like a Notre Dame Gargoyle. Happy though thanks to not getting so wet as to shiver in the cold.

Thanks coat!

ps.. like the new tagline??

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Thematically Challenged

By way of clunky introduction, and in an effort to connect two unrelated tales (come on, you've done it) (haven't you?) for the purpose of this post... Forget the introduction. The high degree of self-reference employed at present renders any introduction useless. Did I mention I've been finishing our front door with numerous coats of varathane? In a closed area?

Our neighbour G tells a tale regarding the stand-offish attitudes of our Germanic next-door neighbours. Many months of icy stares and so on were resolved by a comment made in passing. Mr. Next Door offered one day, in passing, "You have a lovely bush." We are told the reference was not, in fact, referring to G's, um, bush, but to a delightful rhododendron which blooms twice yearly. It is a marvelous bush.

I would be much happier if this post was going somewhere. It isn't... I wonder what he thought she'd think he was addressing. Was this a test? If so, did she pass? They do possess a lovely cedar. Would it be inappropriate to tell her husband he has a nice branch? I'm not saying I will.

Last night E was slightly resistant to sleep. She exited her room a couple of times during my "Serenity Now!" (tm) breathing session, which I perform outside her door every evening say, roughly, right after I put her to bed. (Coincidence, I tell you, and nothing more.) We had a wee chat, we did, E sitting on my lap, rocking gently, and I learned a few things. I told E I loved her, and always will. Said E: You're daft as a brush. I ran to the corner and you got scared (repeated today but as a part of her schedule). The sign says "stop". I am a girl. Mommy's a girl. A is a boy. You are a boy. You have a penis! I don't want a penis. (No indeed.)

There was little I could do but hug my little girl, kiss her hair, and commend her dedication to her studies.

Monday, October 09, 2006

A reminder

Here's a reminder of how I used to post. I am sorry to not have any new material for today but for those of you who missed this first time out please chime in.

And, let's say this is important review material for papa-man these days. Honey please see 3 & 4 in detail.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Ring the Bells!

Lay out the red carpet! Cut the cheese!

Herein the final portion of the P-man random ambivalence test (also known as my list of 100 albums which I own and about which I am blogging). Please, quit it with the heavy breathing, I am getting excited.

You know, when I began this list, I had no idea it would take this long or test my psychological reserves so severely. I am but a shade of my former self. I have paid a high price for my art... no, for the art of others, no, also wrong... in an effort to copy others! I have been lamed by my lameness. I am not yet a steady viewer of the so-called "reality" tv programs, however, so it could be worse. But enough about me. Except for the rest of this post, which is about me.

14. THE BAND (1969)
I say this not to offend: if there is such a creature as ‘roots rock’ (and I do not believe there is…) then this is my idea of the definitive recording of it. Of course, I am no ethnomusicologist. The lyrics and arrangements are of a piece. This album is canon. FS: Jemima Surrender

13. MILES DAVIS Kind of Blue (1959)
This is, I admit, a predictable selection.

That said, since purchasing this album things have really changed for me. For example, I am now employed. I owe it all to this album.

I will not belabour this but check out this lineup: Cannonball Adderly, Coltrane, Bill Evans, Paul Chambers, Jimmy Cobb and Wynton Kelly. (Spoiler: three of these musicians appear on this list’s #1… oh! What delicious tension!) They were given brief sketches of the pieces by the album’s namesake and filled in the rest. Priceless. (It was this album or Bitches Brew, by the way, not that it matters, unless you will accept this sad effort by the correspondent to appear ‘edgy’ and ‘youthful’ by late-1960s’ standards.) FS: Blue in Green

12. WILCO Yankee Hotel Foxtrot (2002)

Not “Being There”. Shorter. Funnier. Dare I say it? Better. FS: Pot Kettle Black

11. TAJ MAHAL & TOUMANI DIABATE Kulanjan (1999)
There is so much space in these tunes. These guys are so relaxed, soulful. This album was recorded on a back porch overlooking the sky. FS: Old Georgie Buck

10. DIRTBOMBS Ultraglide In Black (2002)
Do not pass go until you own this recording. More fun than something that you thought was really fun and way louder. This will be the first of three dual-drummer acts noted in the following entries. Try and spot the other two. Play at home! FS: Underdog

I am aware there is a genre, or was a genre, called “southern rock”, which appears to be a pejorative, designed to ascribe to its exponents the constellation of down-the-nose-isms available to the urban elite, or northerners (like people from Minneapolis, those blue-blooded snobs), and to tar bands like ABB with the same brush one would Lynyrd Skynyrd (does it matter if I spell that incorrectly?). Needless to say, when I hear this band described thus, it pisses me off. These guys were serious.

Any band that loved Coltrane and sought, as did he, to gain access to the spiritual through music is all right with me. I would like to rave about these guys, their grasp of dynamics, the fact they played like they meant every note, the immensity and maturity of their sound (esp. for what I understand to have been a bunch of shroom-munching young males, living communally, playing extemporaneously) but I fear I may appear impartial.

In an effort to forestall that occurrence, I will summarize as follows. 1: this is what rock is supposed to sound like. 2: Duane Allman was god (not EC, or Knopfler, or Hendrix, and so on. Duane. And it’s ‘god’, not ‘God’. God would not have died in a motorcycle accident and God would not let his brother marry Cher under any circumstances). 3: I’m sorry God. FS: Whippin’ Post (obviously)

8. METERS Keep On Struttin’ (1970)
I’m not going to say anything. Maybe something. Just a little. This album can make stiff-kneed white desk jockeys (well, this one) dance, happy and unafraid. Imagine what it can do for you. FS: Chicken Strut

7. OSIBISA (1970)
It is difficult to avoid describing these discs without resorting to the cliché of music genre. Andy Partridge may have been correct in saying it doesn’t matter what the label is, “This is pop.”

Nonetheless, in label-land, there is a genre, or 16, describing citizens of other nations, with their own musical lexicon, getting with the pop of the day. In the late 60s, early 70s, Carlos Santana was maybe the most noted exponent of this genre. I do not like him so much, so his only mention on this list shall be: Santana cannot be forgiven for working with a: that guy from REO Speedwagon Or Journey, whatever. The squeaky guy... "I'm Weening"), and b: that guy from Matchbox 20.

I purchased this album in the 80s, for 5 bucks, at a second-hand vinyl shop on Yonge Street. I liked the album cover, obsessed as I was with Roger Dean and matters Yes. Listening to this raw sweaty and visceral music helped reorganize my ear, so I could listen to music with my heart. FS: Phallus C

6. KING CRIMSON Discipline (1981)
I had to sneak out and buy this album so I could put it on the list. I have the components of it on the numerous KC cds littering my cabinet. They are legion. Every single lineup for the last 40-odd years.... Every fucking lineup… what was I thinking… This lineup, made up of stellar players, produced three albums. This was the first. In further identifying my (I am so lame) rock pantheon, Bill Bruford is god. This lineup made three records but the other two are not so good, or maybe you could even say, middling… bad. This one, however, is note perfect, note imperfect, brilliant.

I’d like to comment on the ability of this band to do, well, anything. One of the most incredible shows I have ever attended was this band at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre, May 1984. However, since I do not understand what it was they did, I will spare you the effort. FS: Indiscipline

5. THE MOTHERS OF INVENTION Cruisin’ With Ruben & the Jets (1968)
I love Zappa. I get all googly-eyed listening to “We’re Only In It For the Money” or “Hot Rats”. What I like about this guy’s body of work is the social commentary, the contempt he displays towards many subjects worthy of contempt, the increasingly (especially after he fired this band) technical aspect of his compositions and the awesome bands he put together, but mostly, I love that he was funny. He made many a humourous lyric but this album kills me every time.

I can remember being plied with single malt and chronic as I kilted up for my wedding, listening to this album full of suicidal love-sick doo-wop tunes, and laughing my ass off. FS: Stuff Up the Cracks

4. NEW PORNOGRAPHERS Twin Cinema (2005)
I love me some pop. Pop ‘til you drop. I am a pop tart. I have no idea what Carl Newman is writing songs about but I don’t care. There are enough hooks in these songs to kill every fish on this planet. These are difficult songs played with assurance by pop-lords and -ladies. Kurt Dahle is my hero: his kit is comprised of like, 6 pieces, and he sounds like a drum chorus. FS: Star Bodies

3. XTC Drums & Wires (1979)
Fuck the Clash. These guys were way less self-serious, way less drunk. This is not the voice of reason, mind, I have all of XTC's records. I like this one best.

Fuck the Police too. FS: Roads Girdle the Globe

2. LOVE Forever Changes (1967)
I have listened to this recording more than any other (except maybe the Lego music box thingie e plays with, Frere Jacques, et al) in my so-called collection. Supposedly the death-letter of a young addict, this album captures the truth of the vaunted 1960s and makes albums like Sgt. Peppers, Surrealistic Pillow, or Their Satanic Majesties Request look like the shallow and crass bullshit that they are. And don’t get me started on the Moody Blues, with their goofy paean to Dr. Leary. Arthur Lee lived the dream and the nightmare, and here it is (well, some of it, anyway). RIP to Mr. Lee. FS: The Good Humor Man, He Sees Everything Like This

1. WES MONTGOMERY Full House (1962)
This album, along with #11, made it to the birth of both of our children. Of the two, this is the one Mo permitted be played in its entirety. I don’t know yet if baby a loves it like e or I but there must be an o or a u in there somewhere… I mean, I will give him time.

Extemporized music played with more talent, passion, and cool than ought be possible. The band behind Mr. Montgomery, present on #13, cooked. Johnny Griffin cooked. Wes cooked. Buy this album. You will be cooked. FS: S.O.S.

And now I must bid this exercise in self-revelation and self-absorption farewell. What have I learned through this exercise? Well I may ask. I have learned the following:

a) to buy some new cds;
b) I do not own any hip hop, rap, crunk, death metal, speed metal, hair metal, liquid metal, electronica, anologia or hat music;
c) when exercising option "a" I will not vary from "b", regardless of the consequences. I do not understand you kids and your crazy music, large pants, e-pods and whatnot. I am so old. So lame. Rejoice!

Wednesday, October 04, 2006


Not merely an innocuous noun, but a verb of some concern. A verb which connotes excitement, but not satisfaction, a sense of incompletion... of suspension. Or maybe not. Maybe it connotes porn stardom, I can't say. In fact, I can't speak for what the verb connotes if one holds to the theory that one may not comment on another's experience with any authority, and so on. Pretty limiting, no?

The point, belated though it may arrive, is I desire more fluff and less... less not-fluff. There is no shortage of serious stuff happening at home (2 year old, 2 month old, spouse with a contract position and next to no opportunity to complete the task, home-buying, vomiting cats, unreliable contractors, weird relatives - the usual) and no shortage of terrifying activities in the world outside (and no shortage of media outlets elbowing each other in the face for the dubious privilege of presenting to us, the discerning public, flash animations of children being shot, planes flying into large immovable objects, and... Kid Rock and Pamela Anderson making sweet love on a bearskin rug...). The only description for these acts, and their publication, is inhumane.

In short, we do not suffer from a deficit of exposure to depraved goings-on, rather a surfeit of such exposure. Hence the fluff. I ask you, dear reader, to do me a favour. Be fluffy with someone you love or even know just a little. I am not saying you need provide incomplete satisfaction of a physical nature to these people (unless you want to do that). God no. I have no place in your bedroom (unless you require a videographer in which case call me for bookings and rates), bathroom, under the kitchen table, whatever. Just go, be light, be happy.

P-man out

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

I won't be watching the news today

I was 20 when Marc Lepine picked out the girls. Today I am a little girl's mother.
Violence against women must stop.

Today I am a mother with a small son.
And, violence must be overcome.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Recommended title: You can't take a balloon into The Metropolitan Museum

You can't take a balloon into The Metropolitan Museum
by Jacqueline Preiss Weitzman ; pictures by Robin Preiss Glasser.
Dial, 1998 or Puffin, 2001

Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, N.Y.) -- Fiction; Balloons -- Fiction ; Stories without words
ISBN: 0803723016

I am currently in the throes of my first post-natal work-at-home deadlines so posting will likely be a bit sporadic in the coming weeks. It is at the moment 3:30 AM and I just submitted my first draft of the online course content I'm writing. Ah, the nostalgia of the collegiate all-nighter.

That done I suppose I can -- in good conscience -- throw up a little post. Here's a title p-man and the girl picked up on their last trip to the library. It is our first real story-without-words book and Miss Fancy loves it. Check it out at your local library. We have been telling this tale of the little girl and her grandma again-and-again (like we have a choice). I recently told it from the perspective of the balloon, fun. A while back I misspoke and called it "You can't take a balloon into The Metropolitan Museum of Art" and now bossy boots corrects anyone who overlooks the 'of Art!!!' part. P-man has spiced up the story for Mom with his patented characterization of 'the man with the large instrument'.

ps.. thanks to the Tompkins County Public Library for the following synopsis of the book on their summer booklist of art in kids lit.

In this wordless story, a young girl and her grandmother view works inside the Metropolitan Museum of Art, while the balloon she has been forced to leave outside floats around New York City causing a series of mishaps that mirror scenes in the museum's artworks.

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